Turkish food had never much appealed to me. I’d always seen it as too similar to Lebanese, just with more difficult-to-pronounce dishes.
But with all the hype around Turkish steakhouses (and by that I mean Nusr-Et and the Salt Bae), why not try the other Turkish steakhouse?
Like Nusr-Et, Gunaydin also has several restaurants in Turkey. But despite its lack of a social media sweetheart, Gunaydin has managed to pip Nusr-Et to the post (on Zomato at least) with some great meat and good old-fashioned food.
Gunaydin is a meat lover’s paradise. But one of my party was a vegetarian and even she enjoyed it! There are ample salads and mezze and the loveliest Turkish bread sprinkled with sesame seeds to keep even the fussiest of non-meat-eaters happy.
The restaurant is located in a prime spot in Souk al Bahar, just over the bridge across from Dubai Mall and overlooking the fountains.
However, if you approach from the opposite direction you’ll first spot the butchery with meat and carcasses galore. Once you enter the restaurant, you’ll see the beef ageing room, where hung meat rotates around an illuminated Himalayan salt pillar. Inside the restaurant, they have the most magnificently marbled steaks on display.
And not just the meat, but all of the food was executed well. Great flavours, great textures – from the delicate dips, warm breads, fresh salads and tender meats, to the sticky mastic ice cream.
What’s on the menu:
Panco – fried potatoes with eggplant, yogurt and garlic
Acili Ezme – chili tomato dio with pepper and onion
Tulum Peynirli Salata – mixed green salad with tulum cheese, walnuts, golden raisins and cherry tomatoes
Lahmacun – thin Turkish style pizza with chopped seasoned lamb
Below is apparently how you eat the lahmacun. Stuff it with a salad of onions and parsley, give a generous squeeze of lemon and enjoy!
Saslik – thinly sliced marinated fillet of beef with onion – marinated for 48 hours. This was my favourite dish.
Adana Kebap – minced lamb kebab with Turkish spices and herbs
Katmer – a pistachio-filled dough (similar to an Egyptian fatayer or Thai street vendor roti). They take a sticky hunk of mastic ice cream and roll the katmer around it before slicing.
During Ramadan, Gunaydin will open from 12pm to 3am. They have special set menus for iftar (AED 220 per person, 7pm to 9pm) and suhoor (AED 260 per person, 10pm to 3am), in addition to their regular a la carte menu.
Verdict: A carnivore’s paradise, though vegetarians will have plenty to keep them satisfied.
Note to self: Get ready for some serious meat sweats.
Souk Al Bahar
Tel: 04 554 0700
Chow for now!